I just ran across a interesting series of articles on CNN/Money that talk about our biggest money fears, and why they might be misguided. The articles also provide some steps that you can take to protect yourself in each case. Ranked from one to six, here they are…
1. Dying young. While this is a scary possibility, the statistics suggest that you really should be more concerned about suffering a long-term disability.
2. A stock market crash. According to a study by Vanguard’s Center for Investment Research, investors think that there’s better than a 50/50 chance that the stock market could lose ? 1/3 of it’s value in any given year. Vanguard’s numbers, however, reveal that there’s actually only about a 2% chance of this happening. The much greater risk according to them are subpar returns for decades to come.
3. An economic collapse. While mounting debts and an aging population might ultimately temper our spending patterns, the most likely outcome of this would be a potentially painful return to average, as opposed to an outright collapse.
4. Having your job outsourced. While economic globalization and the shift of a substantial number of jobs overseas have made big headlines, outsourcing is still a relatively small cause of job loss. Technological advances, on the other hand, are rendering a great many positions obsolete each year. But fear not… These same technological advances are responsible for a good bit of job creation each year. So, if you’re prepared, this sort of job loss won’t the end of the world.
5. The housing bubble bursting. While there’s been an awful lot of talk about the housing bubble and the fact that it’s ultimately destined to burst, a much bigger risk is getting overextended through the use of various ‘creative’ financial tools, including adjustable rate and interest-only mortgages. If interest rates move strongly upward, an awful lot of people could find themselves in over their heads and unable to make their payments.
6. Identity theft. Although it’s becoming more and more common, identity theft is still pretty rare. Perhaps you should worry more about mistakes on your credit report, as these are far more common, and can be quite damaging.